I’ve been thinking a lot about faith just lately. I have a (mostly) daily meditation practice; attend a weekly dharma and meditation class; and more and more try to live my life in a mindful way. There is still a little part of me that holds back from calling myself a Buddhist though. Not doubt in the teachings of the Buddha per se, but difficulty with seeing how the religious aspects of faith fit in with the Buddha’s teaching. The Buddha said:
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
Of the Buddha’s teachings that I know, that I can experience for myself, that I understand – there is nothing so far that doesn’t agree with reason or that isn’t conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. And so, I guess, in a way, I can say I have faith in the Buddha’s teaching.
I created this art journal page after my dharma teacher read us a passage from “Advice from the Lotus-Born“. In the passage, the Bodhisattva Padmasambhava gives advice to his follower Tsogyal. The passage is quite beautiful, and full of wonderfully evocative similes (who doesn’t love a good simile?). I have included a few on my journal page. After reeling off scores of these “faith is like…” similes, Padmasambhava finishes by saying “Once faith has dawned from deep within you, all virtuous qualities arrive in a mountainous heap!” which makes me smile every time I read it 🙂
This art journal page uses crayon wax resist with watercolour paints and stamping with acrylic paint. The words are written on watercolour-painted pages and collaged in place.